Liberal Democrats

F41: Towards a Federal UK

This motion restates existing policy on a Federal UK as set out in policy paper 117, Power to the People (March 2014), and updates it in light of the recent referendum campaign in Scotland.

F41: Towards a Federal UK (Emergency Motion)


Conference celebrates Scotland’s decision to remain within the United Kingdom in the referendum of 18th September and believes the nations of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are stronger together. 

Conference further believes that Scotland’s decision allows the creation of the fully Federal UK long

advocated by Liberals and Liberal Democrats.

To that end, Conference calls for the UK Government to take action for Scotland to:

i) Implement in full the delivery plan for further Scottish powers promised by the three pro-Union party leaders during the independence referendum campaign without any conditionality on progress in other areas.

ii) Support the proposals detailed in the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ report Federalism: the best future for Scotland as set out in the pre-manifesto A Stronger Economy and a Fairer Society.

Conference further calls on the UK Government to:

a) Implement the recommendations of the Silk Commission for Wales and address Wales recognised

underfunding as set out in the pre-manifesto A Stronger Economy and a Fairer Society.

b) Introduce a Devolution Enabling Bill to Parliament, permitting ‘devolution on demand’ in England,

the transfer of legislative powers from the UK Parliament to councils or groups of councils working

together as set out in policy paper 117, Power to the People.

c) Build on the success of City Deals and Growth Deals, by devolving more power and resources to

groups of local authorities and local enterprise partnerships.

d) Empower a constitutional convention, with a citizens’ jury at its core, to produce a new written

constitution for a Federal United Kingdom, and to further shape new institutions for England.

Conference further welcomes evidence from the independence referendum that citizens will engage with politics and with democracy when they believe their vote makes a difference, and their voice is heard.

Conference therefore renews its call for:

1. Fair votes through STV at every level of election, and an end to ‘safe seats’.

2. An elected second chamber, based on the model developed through a decade of cross-party

committees and commissions and embodied in the 2012 Coalition Bill.

3. A £10,000 annual cap on donations to political parties to limit the capacity of wealthy backers to buy influence in the political process and access to leading politicians, and reforms to party funding along the lines of the recent report of the committee on Standards in Public Life. 

4. Protection of the right for trade union members to consent to a political levy being deducted from their subscriptions, with a new right for each member to choose which party they wish to see receive their donation. 

5. The franchise to be extended to all sixteen and seventeen year olds for all elections.


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